LIVING THE DREAM
Pitcher Cody Pick named ‘player of the game’ at nationals
What do a grandfather, a father and a son have in common? In Cody Pick’s case, one thing — baseball.
Nineteen-year-old Pick hails from Cambridge, and now plays as part of Saint Mary’s University’s baseball club team, which advanced all the way to nationals in Ottawa this fall.
The team was defeated, but the tournament was a resounding victory for Pick, who was dubbed the Player of the Game several times thanks to his pitching prowess and splitter pitches. The team lost 3-2 against Carleton University, but played a strong game that surprised top-ranked varsity teams who saw the club team as underdogs, says Pick.
“A splitter breaks down, and has a good two-to-three-foot drop from where the ball starts. The other guys weren’t expecting I’d throw that, and it really showed,” he says.
Pick is in his second year of SMU’s criminology program and is a pitcher on the team’s roster. He got his start playing baseball in Kentville, with a program he said is a much smaller one than Halifax or Dartmouth, but more special because of it.
“I found that way I had a stronger bond and connection with who I played with,” says Pick.
He also learned a lot of stuff from his dad, Richard, and grandfather, Karl, both of whom played baseball as well.
“Ball went through the family,” laughs Pick as he recalls spending time with his father, who taught him the ropes — or rather pitches — and how to play the game properly.
Pick says his father was with him every step of the way as he started in the sport’s house leagues and gradually found his stride.
“When I first started out, I wasn’t good — at all,” he says with a laugh.
He worked at it and started qualifying for competitive teams. He also played in high school while attending Central Kings.
It was a sport he loved despite its challenges and his slow progress, and Pick stuck it out and kept up his practicing.
“I just kind of pounded down, practiced, and fell in love with playing, watching and living baseball,” he says.
His commitment paid off, especially when it came to his pitching. While he could never master a better-than-average curve ball — a throw all pitchers tend to master first, according to Pick — he was able to teach himself to throw a mean splitter, which is an even harder pitch for most.
It’s a pitch, Pick says, that is set to confuse the batter its headed for because of its slow velocity. While his fastballs average around 85 miles per hour per throw, his splitters average around 70 and then drop low.
“I’ve only seen one other person I’ve played against be able to throw it. It’s a different pitch, no one is used to it,” he says.
As his arm got better and his confidence increased, his dad remained by his side to talk him through the game and his strategy. He was also the one talking Pick through his SMU tryouts in his rookie year.
When he’s not physically with him at games, Pick says he keeps his father posted on how things go, no matter what.
“Last year was my rookie year, and I filled him in on everything. He’s pretty proud I’ve made it this far with ball,” says Pick.
His teammates have also supported him throughout his time at the school, and even before that. Pick says he’s played alongside nearly half the team at different points over the years.
He says they had his back “the whole time” during that heated match against Carleton, where everything seemed to go right for the pitcher despite the sub-zero temperatures.
“I got comfortable up there, and was able to throw harder than I normally have. I was our go-to pitcher that tournament, and the guys were always there,” he says.
Pick still plays for Kentville during the summers when he’s home from university. He plans on playing for SMU throughout his undergraduate degree, and wants to see the team reach nationals again.
It was a big thrill for the young player, despite the team’s eventual loss, he says.
“Our whole team was in it through the end. It felt good that way, and would’ve been nicer if we’d won, but that was my firstever big game. I’d never gone to nationals before, so to have a game like that was huge for me.”
Cody Pick, 19, is a baseball pitcher currently playing on the Saint Mary’s University club team, which recently traveled to Ottawa for nationals. Pick hails from Cambridge, and got his start playing in Kentville.
Cody Pick says his family and team “always have his back,” and that at nationals it was no different.
Cody Pick was dubbed the player of the game during his team’s match against Carleton University at nationals. Despite losing 3-2, the team played hard, and Pick’s arm threw the distinctive splitter pitch he’s known for, one with a low velocity and late drop that he says catches most players off guard.